Recruiting for SaaS sales people is one of the toughest recruiting challenges, demand is high and supply is limited. You need to be smart in your sourcing and recruitment methods.
Good SaaS sales professionals are a rare breed and very high in demand. After software engineers, SaaS sales professionals are the most sought after talent.
We can clearly talk about a scarcity in regards to SaaS sales: the supply is limited and the demand is high, so it becomes harder to win them for you.
Recruiting SaaS sales professionals brings some unique challenges since you’re looking for a particular breed of talent.
You can certainly not generalize the entire SaaS sales talent pool, but there are some notable characteristics of these profiles.
You could say that every salesperson should be target driven and optimistic, but for SaaS sales this is particularly important. The product and buying cycle is complex and the competition is fierce so successful SaaS sales execs know where they're heading and keep their chin up when things seem to be down.
SaaS sales professionals should understand the technology they are selling and in particular the technical and organizational consequences of using the software from a buyer perspective. They understand the tech but don’t lose themselves in technical discussions and details. They focus on the business outcome.
Since software companies have scalable business models, there are unusually large opportunities for SaaS sales execs to grow their career with the growth of the company. You’re looking for someone who enjoys looking for those opportunities and driving personal growth and company growth.
SaaS sales reps are successful when they create repeatable revenue from clients, so they need to set up a way of working that does just that. They have to work in a data driven way to identify the right clients but also to expand accounts by cross and upselling software packages and features. To do this they need to set up and follow a systematic process which requires an analytical skills and a structured way of working.
The best SaaS sales reps cannot be found on job boards. They usually get enough offers and don’t have to look on job boards. They also are very selective about the companies they want to work with. That means proactively searching for passive candidates is the way to go.
SaaS sales reps can go by a variety of titles. Only checking for "Sales Executive" in the job title excludes a large number of people who are qualified for the job.
SaaS sales professionals are also known as Sales Representative, Sales Manager, Sales Executive, Account Executive, Client Success Manager and many more job titles.
Here’s a list with 20+ alternative job titles for Sales Executives.
A simple way to filter for sales executives who are working at software companies is by including the ‘Internet’ and ‘Computer software’ industry in your search.
When you’re looking for candidates that have worked for companies that match certain requirements, you can include specific company names in your search.
You can for example include Salesforce, ServiceNow and Atlassian in your search to find their employees, and your potential candidates.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn premium account or if you want to bulk import a list of company names, you can use the Google Programmable Search Engine (PSE) - this is how to use the PSE.
You can also use a sourcing solution that takes into account SaaS specific attributes like tech and high growth experience.
LinkedIn is not the only platform where you can find talent. There are many other sources where SaaS sales professionals hang out.
On AngelList you can find commercial talent that has a strong affinity with the startup work environment.
And on Medium there are plenty of SaaS reps who show off their thought leadership in the SaaS domain in blogs.
Write down who you are looking for in a clear job description. Most sales execs don't like very long documentation so keep it short.
Tech sales execs usually sell either an unproven product, in an unproven market or both at the same time.
Three basic but key questions to ask yourself when making the sales exec job description are: what is it they will be selling? (=product), where will they be selling it? (=market) and who will they be selling it to? (=buyer).
Since SaaS reps are target driven and get excited about a clear growth perspective, it can also really help to make clear what the growth potential is of the product and market the candidate will be active in.
Here's an example of a SaaS sales job description.
Sales reps in general are used to having phone calls. So when you reach out, definitely consider giving them a phone call.
These contact finders can help you find public phone numbers next to email addresses and links to social media platforms.
When you have found the right candidate, consider including an incentive scheme like a percentage of total recurring revenue in your job offer.
If the situation allows it, also provide stock options so you can offer an additional incentive to join and grow with the company.
Recruiting is competitive, if you know how to find talent that is less competed for, you win.
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